Visitors to NoPornNorthampton Website Outnumber Those of Local Newspaper Website

[Revised and updated on May 30, 2007]

For the first time, an independent web measurement service estimates that receives more monthly unique US visitors than, a website of Northampton’s local newspaper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette. (The Gazette also serves some visitors as

Quantcast estimates that NoPornNorthampton is now receiving 12,629 monthly unique visitors from the US (see PDF profile). GazetteNet trails slightly behind with 12,602 monthly unique visitors from the US (see PDF profile). The Daily Hampshire Gazette’s website dates from August 1996, when the domain was first registered. is, of course, less than one year old, having been launched in June 2006.

Visitors to have outnumbered those to Capital Video’s main website,, for some time. Quantcast estimates that receives 9,219 monthly unique visitors from the US (see PDF profile). The website dates back to June 1996, its date of initial registration.

NoPornNorthampton has similar or greater numbers of visitors than and despite being a much younger organization and having a much
smaller overall budget than either.

A long-standing frustration for anti-porn activists has been a sense that many in the media give them inadequate coverage relative to the importance of the issue, or even biased coverage. With the Internet, it is now possible for activists to simply bypass traditional media when necessary and speak directly to the people. Interest in anti-porn information appears to be considerable.

See also:

Harvard Law Professor Frederick Schauer’s “The Boundaries of the First Amendment”; Government Regulates Many Kinds of Speech
Journalists understandably are particularly vigilant about freedom of the press. Claiming a threat to freedom of speech is therefore an effective way to get sympathetic media coverage of your issue.

Catharine MacKinnon: Mass Media Reflexively, Subtly Protect Pornographers
Until the publication of [In Harm’s Way], the public discussion of pornography has been impoverished and deprived by often inaccurate or incomplete reports of victims’ accounts and experts’ views. Media reports of victims’ testimony at the time of the hearings themselves were often cursory, distorted, or nonexistent. Some reports by journalists covering the Minneapolis hearings were rewritten by editors to conform the testimony to the story of pornography’s harmlessness that they wanted told. Of this process, one Minneapolis reporter assigned to cover those hearings told me, in reference to the reports she filed, “I have never been so censored in my life.”

——————- (added on 3/8/07)

Right after we posted this article today to Your Stories Northampton, local activist Daryl G. LaFleur posted his own comments there entitled “Blogging is a value added service”. Some excerpts:

Recently former long time Daily Hampshire Gazette editor Ed Shanahan published an article regarding his views on blogging. You can read “Time to say goodbye to the Daily Newspaper? Not if we want hard news” at

Blogging from my view allows for an alternate point of view to be expressed by someone other than a hired professional…

As I’m sure many of you are aware, with all the news that’s out there, I’m frequently disappointed in what gets covered and how. Reporters from local newspapers and radio stations often seem to ask city officials what they think and then regurgitate the responses. So we have representatives from one set of corporations, the mainstream newspapers and radio stations, repeating statements from representatives of other corporations known as cities, plus officials from towns, colleges, and businesses are added in as well… Whatever happened to striving for balance in daily news reporting and seeking alternate views for readers or listeners to consider? Regretfully, it’s basically gone the way of the horse and buggy and blogging is changing that, for the better in my estimation. Simply put, just because a reporter does some paid research and injects that research into the public domain, colored by his or her own personal biases or perhaps those of an editor or researcher, doesn’t mean they deserve exclusive rights to comment publicly sans rebuttal…

Could that be why blogging has proliferated, as the internet has presented us a new communication device and opened up the potential for the rest of us to impact our public policies in a way not dissimilar to what the mainstream media has enjoyed these past many centuries?…

Bloggers are providing an entire industry with new competition, and that is great NEWS for consumers and voters alike. Perhaps bloggers are succeeding because many of the people that tuned out because they recognized there is too much information that is unheard of, unspoken of, and unwritten about by the mainstream media, are tuning back in now that they have a refreshing new resource for unedited discourse that stems from a phenomenon created by and for humans known as cyberspace.

So remember Ed: many bloggers take their endeavor seriously while being compensated modestly if at all. Blogs allow for a far more democratic discourse, and while some bloggers may be uninformed and rely on mainstream reporters to provide them their source material as you have indicated, others provide a valuable service to their community that falls more or less under the banner of volunteer-ism.

——————- (added on 5/30/07)

“Counting Web site hits becoming a more exact science”
, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 5/30/07

…unaudited numbers released by Web site publishers…are almost always higher than panel data.

After all, higher numbers are in the publishers’ interest–the more
visitors a site has, the more it generally can charge advertisers.

“You have to take the publisher data with a grain of salt,” said Allen
Stern, media director for the San Francisco office of, which
advises clients on buying Web ads.

He said counts from Nielsen, ComScore and other companies that rely on
panels are useful because they can compare sites against one another.
That’s difficult to do with unaudited server-based measurement, because
different companies track that data in different ways.

[Quantcast uses both panel data and internet log records–see their FAQ.]

11 thoughts on “Visitors to NoPornNorthampton Website Outnumber Those of Local Newspaper Website

  1. Without addressing any of the thematic points here, I’d simply point out that Quantcast’s numbers in GazetteNET’s case specifically, and I suspect generally for the sites it purports to track, aren’t accurate. GazetteNET actually gets considerably more unique visitors than 12,602 not just monthly, but weekly; thus, that figure isn’t even remotely close to our actual monthly traffic. That may well be the case for NoPornNorthampton as well; I’d recommend a check of your server logs to see what kind of traffic you’re receiving and whether that accords with the Quantcast figures. There’s a good chance that it doesn’t match up.

    best, Don St. John
    Online Editor, GazetteNET

  2. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate that estimates of web traffic vary. NoPornNorthampton has included Quantcast’s code on our site to improve accuracy, and perhaps the Gazette might consider doing so as well so we can tighten up the comparison. It’s a free service.

    Like you, we have also found that some web measurement services appear to understate our traffic. For example, Blog Top Sites claims that we served a little under 1,100 page views on March 7 (see report). However, our webhost’s internal count of article views for that date is 1,562.

    The essential point remains unchanged. Citizens today can create high-visibility media outlets in a relatively short period of time with relatively little money. This has the potential to change the playing field upon which political decisions are made.

  3. “The essential point remains unchanged?” I thought the essential point of a story was usually contained in the headline. So now that it’s pointed out to you that your numbers, and in fact your basic fundamental assertion is in fact 100% wrong, would you consider changing or revising the headline and/or the content of your post to reflect its inherent wrongness?


  4. There’s a point here that you’re neglecting to consider: MANY, if not most, of the people who visit your blog do so because they think it’s a joke, an annoyance, or, worst, completely wrong. That’s why I came here in the first place. I was incredulous when I heard that there’s a couple who is waging a very one-sided, very wordy battle against having a porn shop on King Street near their house. It sounded like a throw-back to the days of prohibition. THAT’s why I first visited your blog. And I know several other people who have visited for the same reason
    Again, I give you credit for working so hard for a cause you believe in, but the hits on your blog are scant indication of your impact.

  5. You can cling to this weak-founded speculation if you want, but it sounds like sour grapes to me. To date, 1,392 people have clicked our Google ads just for the keyword porn addiction. That’s over 6% of all who have seen our ads for this term. As search engine marketers will tell you, that’s a pretty high clickthrough rate for a little text ad. What is more plausible, that people are clicking these ads to mock us, or that they are urgently seeking information about porn addiction, information they may be having a hard time finding elsewhere?

  6. Thanks for the link explaining the meaning of the expression “sour grapes.” I was totally mystified as to what you were getting at until I clicked on it.

    It seems highly probable that people who click your link do not take you seriously, even if they don’t click in order to mock you. Information concerning porn addiction is extraordinarily easy to come by. A Google search for ‘porn addiction’ yielded 2,700,000 hits. That’s a lot. If I were interested in information about porn addiction, I’d have an easy time because, like everyone who owns a computer, I know about Google. I would not consult your condescending, patronizing blog. I know what sour grapes are.

    In order to determine whether the people who click your “porn addiction” ad are mocking you or not, it would be instructive to know what they were searching for when they saw the ad. If they were searching for “bukkake,” the odds are low that they wanted to buy what you’re selling. If they were searching for “porn addiction,” the odds are higher. Which was it? Do you know?

    Also, I noticed that the title of this article is “Visitors to NoPornNorthampton Website Outnumber Those of Local Newspaper Website.” That makes it sound like the “overall point” is that the number of visitors you have is larger than the number of visitors GazetteNET has. Which is hard to believe on its face, and in light of the above comment by Don St. Jon, it’s obviously false. Changing it or posting a retraction is the only honest thing to do. Why haven’t you done it yet?

  7. Quantcast says we have more unique monthly US visitors than GazetteNet, and I have no reason to believe that’s not true. We have invited the Gazette to install Quantcast’s special tracking code if they dispute the accuracy of the comparison. Comparing Quantcast’s counts to an internal count is not a fair comparison, and we do not accept it as proof that the Gazette has more unique US visitors than we do.

    The clicks I mentioned were exclusively for the keyword “porn addiction”.

    This person certainly took our site seriously:

    The story of Jill and Kyle really hit home for me. My husband and I
    have constantly argued about this issue in our relationship. He has
    always been into porn and when he met me he knew that was not something
    that I was interested in. I am a very open person sexually but for some
    reason porn turns me off.
    husband has been found by me on numerous occasions watching it online
    or downloading clips. I have told him so many times that it makes me
    feel horrible and not enough for him, and that it hurts my self esteem.
    I basically have begged and pleaded with him to stop and just when I
    think that he has stopped, he hasn’t. He will even watch it on his
    laptop while I am in another room watching TV. The worst part of it all
    is that sex with us has gone down the tubes. It seems that he is more
    interested in porn than me. He tells me that it’s my issue and there
    must have been something that happened to me for me to hate it so much.
    He says that it’s just entertainment for him and that he should be able
    to do what he wants. What bothers me the most is that he sees me asking
    him to stop and sees me crying and sees what this does to me
    emotionally and he just doesn’t stop. At this point I’m lost and don’t
    know what to do. I want him to get help and if he can’t then I don’t
    know if this marriage can work. We’ve been together for 6 years and
    married not even a year. We have a 2 1/2 year old and one on the way.
    My fear is that he will choose this over me for good. But now with your
    website I can finally show him proof that I am not alone in these
    feelings that I have and that maybe it is time for him to receive help.

  8. Actually, you do have a reason. Mr. St. Jon, the online editor of the Gazette, claims that according to his data, they get more than four times that number of hits per month. That’s a reason.

    I went to quantcast and looked up its GazetteNET numbers. Quantcast claims to have sparse data on GazetteNET, and warns that the numbers it generates are only rough estimates–a caveat you failed to pass on. Since the comparison is very close–12,602 to 12,817 as of 3/14–you don’t have any evidence that your traffic is actually higher than theirs. At best, this evidence shows that your traffic is roughly equal to theirs.

    But it doesn’t even really show that, because you claim that Quantcast is under-representing *your* traffic. Since you think it’s inaccurate for you, and Mr. St. Jon thinks it’s inaccurate for him, I wonder why you insist that the comparison–of two admittedly inaccurate numbers–is accurate?

    Also, I didn’t claim that *everyone* who follows your link does so to mock you. I made two claims: a) that it is easy to find information on porn addiction on the web without consulting this website, and b) that in order to know whether they were mocking you or not, more information is necessary.

    I think point a) is completely unaffected by anything you say in your reply. Another Google search for ‘porn addiction’ I did just now yeilded 2,620,000 hits.

    I think point b) still stands, too. That one person out of the 1,392 who clicked the ad–that’s less than 1/10 of 1 percent–was moved has no bearing on whether your site is well-regarded by the bulk of people who visit it. A fairly sophisticated set of tools is necessary to determine that sort of information. I think Google released something over the summer that might help you. I don’t know.

    Anyway, I can’t understand how you can stand by anything you’ve said so far in this post. None of it seems supported by any evidence whatsoever.

  9. The Gazette’s internal counts cannot be compared to the public reports of an independent measurement service like Quantcast. This kind of issue is why the print circulation of American newspapers is usually measured by an independent service like the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

    I did not notice any dramatic improvement in our Quantcast ranking after we changed from “rough estimate” mode to being directly measured by Quantcast. Quantcast’s count of our visitors is roughly in line with that of another public service, Blog Top Sites, giving me further confidence in their reports. Fred Contrada, a reporter for The Republican, apparently feels Quantcast is credible enough to mention it in this article from yesterday.

    We hide nothing. We provided Quantcast’s full reports as PDFs so people can evaluate them for themselves.

    The Gazette is welcome to take us up on our offer and improve the accuracy of the comparison by installing Quantcast’s free code on their site. It’s a very simple procedure.

  10. You suggest that since you didn’t see any great improvement in your Quantcast ratings when you installed their code, neither will the Gazette. I’m not sure why you think that. At it’s most simplistic, it’s just a spurious universal generalization from a single case. The fact that you didn’t see a great improvement could be explained by Quantcast’s inadequacy even when you use their code, or by yours being a rare case in which their “sparse” measurement was basically accurate. Perhaps the fact that GazetteNET is a pay site causes problems for Quantcast’s measurements. But the fact is that Quantcast isn’t confident in their GazetteNET numbers, and the Gazette is confident that they’re wrong. And just a couple of days ago, you indicated that BlogTopSites, whose measurements you claim confirm those made by Quantcast, were under-representing your traffic. It’s odd, and typically self-serving of you, that now you’re suddenly so confident in all these measurements.

    I took another look at your Quantcast numbers, and compared them to your BTS numbers. I found it difficult to compare them, since Quantcast seems to display the number of unique visitors in the past 30 days (or whatever), and BTS appears to keep a running total for the current month. This makes it impossible to directly compare the numbers. It is possible that they may be roughly in line, but an accurate, direct comparison is only possible one day per month.

    In any case, my earlier point stands. Neither Quantcast nor BTS seem to display information about what people were searching for when they found your site, how many pages they actually view per visit, how long they stay, who your top referrers are, etc. All this would be helpful for determining whether the people who visit your site take it seriously. Also, it would be nice to have a webcam to see if they laugh. People might spend lots of time on your blog, viewing lots and lots of pages, and not take any of them seriously, even if they were searching for ‘porn addiction’ on Google when they found it.

    Finally, the way you suggested that Fred Contrada had enough confidence in Quantcast to mention it in his article of March 15 was misleading (and dishonest, if it was on purpose). The only mention of Quantcast in the article is when he cites you as having cited it. That is, Fred Contrada doesn’t say it’s a credible service, he says *you say* it’s a credible service. That’s not the same thing. Mr. Contrada does not endorse Quantcast. So it’s dishonest and misleading to put it the way you did. Far from being someone who “hides nothing,” this makes you seem like sort of a liar.

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